Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lemonade Urban Redevelopment

Your city's biggest liabilities are its greatest assets. That's the lemons-to-lemonade development paradigm, a Rust Belt philosophy. Out of the box thinking in Cleveland:

The [Hipp Deck] embodied a compelling vision for Cleveland’s parking infrastructure; a hybrid landscape, which recognizes the reality of parking demands, but also engages the desires of residents. Cars avoid the uncovered top level of parking decks, but people love the view! Sloped decks also work great for theater seating. We hope this exciting people-centered vision for the future of our ever-present parking infrastructure will help inspire the collective acts of our fellow artists, activists and designers.

I get hung up on the ideological stance that parking garages are a bad use of valuable urban space. That doesn't mean I'm a fan of car-centric development. On the contrary, I contend downtown retail is a relic of the industrial era. Pittsburgh is still struggling with this turn back the clock approach. The problem is that there is no sense in clicking your heels three times and wishing the parking lots away. A jihad against auto America will get you nowhere fast.

Cleveland is having a rails-to-trails moment. What to do with all the parking garages, particularly after the worker bees have gone home to the suburbs? Reimagining downtown like a skate punk, the Urban Design Collaborative sees spatial opportunity where most people see dormant land use. This is your father's Cleveland, culturally appropriated. You might say that someone has hacked the city's software.

1 comment:

Richey said...

I was excited when I saw the Pitt headline in the Atlantic cities. Was certain I'd see Rust Belt Chic somewhere. Nah, not even close...pretty pedestrian take but not at all surprising